From cream cheese to coconut milk, these are the best substitutes for heavy cream.
Sweet or savory, there’s a cream alternative here for every recipe.
Heavy cream, whipping cream, double cream… whatever you call it, it’s delicious. And it’s an integral part of many recipes, including breakfast dishes and desserts.
Obviously, the substitute you choose will depend on what you’re making.
For example, coconut milk works great in sauces, but evaporated milk is too sweet for savory dishes.
Of course, there’s never a perfect alternative, but these substitutes for heavy cream come close.
Top 10 Heavy Cream Substitutes
1. Half-and-Half and Butter
Half-and-half and butter work as a substitute because half-and-half already contains cream. Plus, butter is made from cream.
Really, it’s a fantastic option.
Also, this version is much lower in fat, but it still tastes great.
Half-and-half and butter can even be whipped! Although, you shouldn’t expect stiff peaks because it’s simply not as stable.
But if you’re making soup or a sauce this substitute will be your best friend.
Substitution Measurements: 1 cup of heavy cream can be replaced with ⅞ cup (14 tablespoons) of half-and-half and ⅛ cup of melted butter (2 tablespoons). Whisk together and use as you need.
2. Butter and Milk
Like with the half-and-half and butter mixture, butter and milk are a great low-fat cream substitute.
Butter and milk are best when used in a recipe, like to add moisture and fat to cakes and confections.
It will add a silky creaminess to soups and sauces like Alfredo sauce, too.
This substitute is not suitable for whipping.
Substitution Measurements: 1 cup of heavy cream can be replaced with ¾ cup of milk (12 tablespoons) and ¼ cup of melted butter (4 tablespoons or ½ stick).
- Let the butter cool, but add it to the milk when it’s still liquid.
- Use a whisk to thoroughly mix them together.
- Whisk in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour to thicken the mixture.
3. Coconut Milk/ Coconut Cream
Coconut milk/cream is a fantastic vegan substitute for heavy cream.
I really like this one because it imparts a deliciously tropical coconut flavor. However, the flavor is not overpowering, so feel free to use it in savory dishes.
It’s great for fall soups like butternut squash because it adds a hint of sweetness. It’s also ideal for smoothies and sweet sauces.
Plus, you can use it to make dairy-free ice creams and puddings. Oh, and it’s a terrific dessert topping!
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of coconut milk/cream. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup coconut cream/milk.
- If you want to use it as whipped cream, you need to use full-fat coconut milk.
- Store a can in the fridge overnight and then separate the liquid and whip the thick, creamy part like you would heavy cream.
4. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk is milk that has been heated, so most of the water dissipates. That leaves you with thick milk that is perfect for substituting heavy cream.
It’s best in recipes where the cream remains liquid. Therefore, it’s great in soups, mashed potatoes, and cream sauces.
It adds a lot of rich, milky flavor, though it is slightly sweeter than regular milk. So keep that in mind as it may change the overall flavor of your dish.
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of evaporated milk. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated milk.
5. Greek Yogurt and Milk
This is the way to go if you want to make something really thick and creamy. It’s also a good option if you want a bake to be extra moist.
But it’s best in cream sauces and soups.
To make the mixture, simply combine equal amounts of Greek yogurt and milk. It’s easiest to do it in a blender.
The end result should be a similar consistency as heavy cream.
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of the Greek yogurt and milk mixture. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup yogurt mixture.
6. Cream Cheese
This is another fantastic option if you want a super thick, silky, and creamy finish.
Cream cheese is perfect for soups, sauces, and frostings because it’s creamy with just a hint of tang.
I really like to use it as a base for extra creamy mac and cheese.
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of cream cheese. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup cream cheese.
7. Cottage Cheese and Milk
I know this sounds weird, but it’s actually a delicious way to substitute heavy cream.
Plus, cottage cheese is quite nutritious! It’s low-carb, high-protein, and has lots of calcium.
Like with the Greek yogurt mixture, you’ll combine equal parts cottage cheese and milk. Blend it together for a wonderfully creamy concoction.
The cottage cheese and milk mixture works very well in soups and sauces.
I also think it would be great in frostings, too. It would add a savory element to cut the sweetness.
Someone try it!
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of the cottage cheese and milk mixture. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup of cottage cheese mixture.
8. Sour Cream
Add a little tang to your recipe by using sour cream in place of heavy cream. It will make your dish wonderfully thick and lusciously creamy, too.
Sour cream is best in soups, mashed potatoes, or frostings. Or sauces like a stroganoff sauce.
Sour cream can curdle, though, so you should only add it when the pan is off-heat.
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of sour cream. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup sour cream.
9. Milk and Cornstarch
Cornstarch is a thickening agent and a great way to thicken milk to a cream consistency.
This combo is great for sauces, puddings, custards, and frostings. Honestly, it works for any recipe that needs liquid cream.
Substitution Measurements: 1 cup of heavy cream can be replaced with 1 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Simply add the cornstarch to the milk and whisk thoroughly.
- Let it sit and thicken a few minutes before you add it.
10. Soy Milk and Silken Tofu
If you’re looking for a neutral-flavored plant-based heavy cream substitute, look no further.
Unlike coconut cream, soy milk and silken tofu will not impart any flavor.
So, this is a great option for almost anything that requires heavy cream. Plus, it adds a lot of protein to your recipe!
The best part is that it whips really well! So you can make a whipped topping for desserts or a light nice cream.
Substitution Measurements: Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of tofu and soy milk mixture. 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup tofu mixture.
- To make the mixture, blend together equal parts soy milk and silken tofu.
- You can do this in a blender or with an immersion blender.
- The result should be soft and silky.
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